Major Hospital Chain Pays More Than $500M after Allegations of Bribes and Kickbacks
October 12, 2016 | Risk Management News
A major U.S. hospital chain and two of its subsidiaries will pay more than $513 million to resolve claims of defrauding the government, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on October 3, 2016. According to DOJ, the chain paid bribes and kickbacks to the owners and operators of prenatal care clinics, which primarily served undocumented Hispanic women, in return for the clinics' promise to refer the patients to its hospitals for labor and delivery. These referrals allegedly helped the chain obtain more than $145 million from Medicare and Medicaid. "When pregnant women seek medical advice, they deserve to receive care untainted by bribes and illegal kickbacks," said one of the attorneys general involved in the case. Another attorney general added that "our Medicaid system is premised on a patient's ability to make an informed choice about where to seek care without undue interference from those seeking to make a profit... The hospital chain exploited some of the most vulnerable members of our community and took advantage of a payment system designed to ensure that underprivileged patients have choices in receiving care."